Having never been to the Emilia Romagna region, I took Natalia’s visit to her second home as an excuse to explore my surroundings and visit her in the beautiful Bologna. Bologna has the perfect mix of tradition and modernity. It is everything that I love about Florence; the beautiful architecture, photogenic streets and piazzas, fantastic food and glamorous locals, all without the tourist crowds. Florence may be richer when it comes to culture and the arts, however Bologna evokes a distinctive and authentic Italian experience.
Bologna has been made famous not only by its culinary dishes such as Ragù sauce, but also the university, which was founded in 1088 and is one of the oldest in Europe. With only a day spent in Bologna, the best thing to do, is walk around the historic, although cosmopolitan city center, eyeing the brown, orange and yellow buildings with porticoes (arched walkways) indulging in a gelato, gossiping and pausing to enter the shops. Exactly what Natalia and I did.
Fontana di Nettuno. The fountain was built in 1566, “to serve the people” in the Piazza Maggiore, just by the Palazzo del Comune. The Maserati sports car company based its logo on the Neptune statue as it represents strength and vigor and is a characteristic symbol of the company’s original home city.
Cattedrale di San Pietro.
Compianto sul Cristo Morto di Niccolò dell’Arca nella Chiesa di Santa Maria della Vita.
This moving and emotional piece of artwork is made of terracotta by Niccolò dell’Arca. The scene stages six grief-stricken characters of Joseph of Arimathea, Mary Salome, the Virgin Mary, Saint John the Evangelist, Mary of Cleophas and Mary Magdalene standing around Christ’s catafalque in visible distress. The extreme realism of the scene, particularly the deep psychological traits of the figures, suggests that Niccolò modelled his works on the agony of the patients staying in the nearby hospital. This work can therefore be regarded as a masterpiece on several accounts; on religious grounds, being an object of cult and devotion; on the grounds of health and community care, since the cult and devotion associated with it have enabled the running of the hospital; and on artistic grounds, being an exceptional work of art.
After a delicious home made lunch, we took a leisurely stroll back to the lively centre and rested by the Basilica di Santo Stefano.
With half of Bologna’s goods in our hands (okay, mainly mine) we fuelled up for the evening at an apericena spot before finishing the day with an ice-cream.
Cremeria Funivia. The second best Italian ice-cream I have had in Italy, following the one in Milan.
Looking back, it was one of the best Saturday’s spent in Italy, mainly because I spent it with one of my best friends-okay super cheesy, however, could I see myself living there at some point? Absolutely. The shoe stores and fresh food markets need me!